Now you too can change the course of history of scientific discovery

By Mike Sutton.

As soon as a rare and fortuitous opportunity come along, which needs to be capitalised upon to benefit from, we might make the mistake of believing it is nothing unusual and that if we fail to seize it another will soon follow. Whether it comes to the most intriguing dating opportunities, a great new career, or the chance to be part of something big, such big opportunities rarely come along twice for most of us. At least not in my experience.

Here now is a significant once in a lifetime opportunity for you. Would you want to know you were one of those people in at the start of a major paradigm change in the history of scientific discovery? If so, then thanks to the internet you can be. You too can comment on an important discussion thread that might well be the turning point towards veracity and away from mythmongery, lies and mere unevidenced, wishful thinking, beliefs in the history of discovery of natural selection. Let me explain.

The comments section of the “Sandwalk” Darwin deification blog , named after a path in Darwin’s garden at Downe House, at the village of Downe, near Bromley – and published by Professor Larry Moran of the the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto – contains arguments from scientists that might well mark the slow turning point needed for the scientific establishment to cease promoting 155 year old and more recent pseudo scholarly fact-denial, falsehoods, myths and lies in the history of discovery of natural selection.

At last, as we can see in this particular comments section, a few scientists are admitting that the New Data, about the pri-1858 readership of Matthew’s 1831 original ideas is right and significant and actually exists – and they are now telling others to read my published peer-reviewed articles (e.g. Sutton 2016 ) on the topic and to stop ignorantly dismissing what they have not even looked at. Biologist Dr Arlin Stoltzfus , of the University of Maryland, Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research is one such scientist. He writes on the sandwalk blog (29th July 2016 ):

Ed, to someone who has read parts of what Sutton has written, your reply looks very foolish. Contrary to what you state, Darwin does not “cite Matthew as a source” of his thinking. Instead, Darwin admits that Matthew preceded him, but then claims that no naturalists paid attention, and he indirectly blames Matthew for this (by putting his theory in the appendix of an obscure mis-titled book on naval arboriculture). That is, Darwin continues to take credit for what he calls “my theory”, and simply writes himself a set of excuses for not attributing Matthew as the source, e.g., by referring to it as “Matthew’s principle of selection.”

Sutton gathers the evidence that Matthew’s book was not just read by naturalists, but (1) received multiple published reviews and (2) was cited by (3) naturalists in Darwin’s circle of acquaintances and influences. Loudon’s review actually mentions that Matthew’s book contained interesting ideas on the origin of species. To find out why naval arboriculture was so interesting to Brits, you’ll have to read Sutton, or just consider the basis of the British Empire in 1831.

*Clearly*, Matthew has priority by ordinary scholarly standards, and clearly Darwin misrepresented the situation by spinning a yarn about Matthew’s obscurity. Sutton points out that Darwin’s followers have uncritically repeated that yarn for 150 years.

The only remaining question is whether Darwin was actually influenced in some way, which might range from vague diffusion of ideas through a personal network, to stealing the ideas and trying to hide it.

Sutton offers textual evidence that Darwin was influenced by Matthew, and points out personal connections that may have been a conduit for this influence. I have not spent much time reviewing this evidence, but it is based on similarities of phrasing. There is no smoking gun.

However, now that Sutton has pulled back the curtain on this, it is no longer responsible in scholarly writing to assert that Darwin wasn’t influenced by Matthew, or even to assert that there is no evidence– there is circumstantial evidence, however weak. If you doubt the evidence then the appropriate way of saying it is “I’m not convinced by the evidence that Darwin was influenced by Matthew.”

But again, this only addresses the issue of borrowing. The issue of priority is already settled, in favor of Matthew.’

If you wish to see more details on this story for yourself – look at both sides of the argument – and choose which one to side with according to independently verifiable facts, instead of long parroted proven falsehoods, Click here and post your comment. You can then tell your grandchildren about it.

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